Top managers’ involvement in a change project
On Monday 24 June 2019 Heidi Buverud will hold a trial lecture on a prescribed topic and defend her thesis for the PhD degree at NHH.
Prescribed topic for the trial lecture:
A well-known matter within change management is the tension between a “top-down” and a “bottom-up” approach. Discuss the tension between the two approaches related to the management of ERP system implementations.
10:15 in Jebsen Centre, NHH
Title of the thesis:
ERP system implementation: How top managers’ involvement in a change project matters
The purpose of this thesis is to enhance the understanding of how top managers’ involvement in an ERP system implementation project may affect organisational effectiveness. In the implementation literature, top management involvement is emphasised, but described in vague terms only.
To study the significance of top management involvement, Buverud examined the implementation of an ERP system in an international production enterprise. To take care of competitive advantages, the system included two custom-made modules.
Except for a considerable delay related to the development of the custom-made production-planning module, the implementation was a success. Main effects were increased effectiveness of the extended supply chain, such as improved exploitation of capacities, reduction of managerial lead-times, reduction of mistakes, and improved services to the customers. Thirteen local planners were moved to other activities.
Buverud´s thesis contributes to the understanding of the top managers’ role in ERP-system implementation projects. In the initiation phase, the top managers developed the vision and communicated the vision and the need for changes to all employees. During the project period, they were members of the steering committees, allocating resources to compose project teams, and keeping in constant contact with the employees. However, they lacked the knowledge of agile project management.
Her findings support the importance of dividing a complex project into manageable sub-projects. In addition, my study demonstrates that it is essential to evaluate the characteristics of each sub-project critically and select an adequate implementation strategy. The strategy should comprise both the technical complexity of the software solution and the organisational change processes.
Buverud´s findings have implications for managers: Managers who are not mastering project management principles need two types of consultants when involved in ERP-system projects. Because of the technological complexity, managers need consultants from the vendor when they implement an ERP package. They may also need other types of specialists, such as programmers, when the project involves the development of custom-made software. In addition, they need the support of a professional project manager to help them apply appropriate project management methodologies to achieve the project goals in time and on budget.
12:15 in Jebsen Centre, NHH
Members of the evaluation committee:
Associate Professor Gunnar E. Christensen (leader of the committee), Department of Strategy and Management, NHH
Professor Martin Lindell, Hanken School of Economics
Associate Professor Eli Hustad, University of Agder
Professor Anna Mette Fuglseth (main supervisor), Department of Strategy and Management, NHH
Professor Kjell Grønhaug, Department of Strategy and Management, NHH
The trial lecture and thesis defence will be open to the public.